Quotations

 

"Our Southern brethren have done grievously, they have rebelled and have attacked their father's house and their loyal brothers.  They must be punished and brought back, but this necessity breaks my heart." in April 1861

Robert Anderson


"... this I conceive to be no time to prate of moral influences. Our men’s nerves require their accustomed narcotics and a glass of whiskey is a powerful friend in a sunstroke, and these poor fellows fall senseless on their heavy drills"

"What armies and how much of war I have seen, what thousands of marching troops, what fields of slain, what prisons, what hospitals, what ruins, what cities in ashes, what hunger and nakedness, what orphanages, what widowhood, what wrongs and what vengeance."

"While our soldiers fight, I can stand and feed and nurse them.  My place is anywhere between the bullet and the battlefield.

Clara Barton


"Faint is the echo; but it is coming; we now hear it sighing sadly through the pines, but it shall yet break in thunder upon the shore - no north, no west, no south, but the United States of America" - from a speech at the raising of the U.S. flag at Fort Sumter on April 14, 1865

Henry War Beecher


"You are mistaken. I can carry that flag myself from the Mississippi all over the rebel States, alone and unarmed, too."

Gilbert Henderson Bates


"I never saw such fighting as was done by the Negro regiment. ... The question that negroes will fight is settled; besides they make better soldiers in every respect than any troops I have ever had under my command."

James Blunt after the Battle of Honey Springs


"Bayonet!"

"They did not know it themselves, what were their lofty deeds of body, mind, heart and soul on that tremendous day."

"But we had with us, to keep and care for, more than five hundred bruised bodies of men, men made in the image of God, marred by the hand of man, and must we say in the name of God."

"(Combat) makes bad men worse and good men better."

Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain


"Jackson is driving us mad.  He don't say a word - no order, no hint of where we're going." - upset that Stonewall Jackson kept even his day-to-day plans secret from his officers

Richard S. Ewell


"People who are anxious to bring on war don't know what they are bargaining for; they don't see all the horrors that must accompany such an event."

"The men of that command will be proud one day to say to their children; 'I was one of the Stonewall Brigade.' I have no right to the name Stonewall. It belongs to the brigade and not at all to me."

"Let us pass over the river and rest under the shade of the trees."

"My duty is to obey orders."

"My religious belief teaches me to feel as safe in battle as in bed.  God has fixed the time for my death.  I do not concern myself about that, but to always be ready, no matter when it may overtake me."

"I do hope that the war will soon be over, and that I shall never again be called upon to take the field."  - Letter to wife, Mary Anna, on April 11, 1862.

Thomas J. Jackson


"I think we know what military fame is: To be killed on the field of battle and have our names spelled wrong in the newspapers."  

"There is many a boy here today who looks on war as all glory, but boys, it is all hell."

"The scenes on this field would have cured anybody of war."  - William T. Sherman in a letter to Ellen on April 11, 1862

"War is cruelty.  There is no use to trying to reform it.  The crueler it is, the sooner it will be over." - before the March to the Sea campaign

"To new soldiers, the sight of blood and death always has a sickening effect, but soon men become accustomed to it, and I have heard them exclaim on seeing a dead comrade borne to the rear. 'Well, Bill has turned up his toes to the daises.'"

"If you don't have my army supplied and keep it supplied, we'll eat your mules up, sir." - before the Atlanta campaign

"You cannot qualify war in harsher terms than I will.  War is cruelty, and you cannot refine it; and those who brought war into our country deserve all the curses and maledictions a people can pour out." - letter to the city of Atlanta, 1864

"The whole army is burning wit an insatiable desire to wreak violence upon South Carolina.  I almost tremble for her fate." - preparing to lead his army into South Carolina after the March to the Sea."

"I don't believe I will draw anything for them but salt." - commenting on the ability of his troops to steal what they needed during the march through Georgia

"The only principle in this war is which party can whip.  It is as simple as a schoolboy's fight and when one or the other party gives in, we will be the better friends." - in a letter to politician James Guthrie of August 14, 1864

"Like one who has walked a narrow plank, I look back and wonder if I really did it." - writing to his wife, Ellen, about his march through Georgia

"Every attempt to make war easy and safe will result in humiliation and disaster."

"I will accept no commission that would tend to create a rivalry with Grant.  I want him to hold what he has earned and got.  I have all the rank I want." --- in a letter to his brother Senator John Sherman in 1865.

William T. Sherman


"Go back, go back and do your duty, as I have done mine, and our country will be safe. Go back, go back... I have rather die than be whipped".

J .E. B. Stuart

 


"It is well that war is so terrible--we should grow too fond of it."

"Still a Union that can only be maintained by swords and bayonets, and in which strife and civil war are to take the place of brotherly love and kindness, has no charm for me".

"Do your duty in all things. You can not do more. You should never wish to do less".

"I have been up to see the Congress, and they do not seem to be able to anything except to eat peanuts and chew tobacco, while my army is starving."

"You are better off than I am, for while you have lost your left, I have lost my right arm."  - in a letter to Jackson on May 4, 1863

"I am now considered such a with my shadow, the doors of those I love, lest I should bring upon them misfortune." - months after surrender at Appomattox

Robert E.  Lee


"It don't hurt a bit to be shot in a wooden leg." - After being hit in his wooden leg at Gettysburg.

John B. Gordon


"The art of war is simple enough. Find out where your enemy is. Get at him as soon as you can. Strike him as hard as you can, and keep moving on."

"Yours of this date proposing Armistice and appointment of Commissioners, to settle terms of Capitulation, is just received. No terms except an unconditional surrender can be accepted. I propose to move immediately upon your works."

"Really, Mr. Lincoln, I have had enough of this show business." - declining an invitation to attend a White House party in his honor so he could return to the front

Ulysses S. Grant


"I have been a soldier all my life. I have commanded companies, I have commanded regiments. I have commanded divisions. And I have commanded even more. But there are no fifteen thousand men in the world that can go across that ground."

"I would not give the life of a single soldier of mine for barren victory."

James Longstreet


"If you surrender, you shall be treated as prisoners of war, but if I have to storm your works, you may expect no quarter."

“Charge ’em both ways!”

Nathan Bedford Forrest


"Tonight we will water our horses in the Tennessee River."

Albert S. Johnston before the Battle of Shiloh


"Sending armies to McClellan is like shoveling fleas across a barnyard. Not half of them get there.

"You are green, it is true; but they are green also. You are all green alike."

“As I would not be a slave, so I would not be a master.  This expresses my idea of democracy.  Whatever differs from this, to the extent of the difference, is not democracy.” - August 1, 1858

"In the present civil war it is quite possible that God's purpose is something different from the purpose of either party. - September 1862

Abraham Lincoln


"Damn the torpedoes! Captain Drayton, go ahead! Jouett, full speed!"

"Everybody has a weak spot, and the first thing I try to do is find out where it is, and pitch into it with the biggest shell or shot that I have, and repeat that dose until it operates."

David G. Farragut


File:John Sedgwick.png "They couldn't hit an elephant at this distance."

John Sedgwick, before he was killed by a sharpshooter at Spotsylvania


"Damn you, gentlemen, I see skulkers. I'll have none here. Come on, you volunteers, come on! This is your chance.  You volunteered to be killed for love of country, and now you can be. You damned volunteers - I'm only a soldier and I don't want to be killed, but you came to be killed and now you can be!"

"Battle is the ultimate to which the whole life's labor of an officer should be directed.  He must live to the age of retirement without seeing a battle; still, he must always be getting ready for it exactly as if he knew the hour of the day it is to break upon him.  And then, whether it come late or early, he must be willing to fight - he must fight!"

Charles Ferguson Smith


"The quarrel between the North and South is, as it stands, solely a fiscal quarrel"

Charles Dickens

 

"Come and help me take that position or stay back and watch men who will."

Confederate Major John Shropshire, just before he was shot between the eyes at thee Battle of Pigeon's Ranch, New Mexico


File:Frederick Douglass portrait.jpg "Who would be free themselves must strike the blow... I urge you to fly to arms and smite to death the power that would bury the Government and your liberty in the same hopeless grave.  This is your golden opportunity."

Frederick Douglas


File:Joseph Hooker - Brady-Handy--restored.jpg "The Rebel army is now the legitimate property of the Army of the Potomac"

"In the time that I am writing every stalk of corn in the northern and greater part of the field was cut as closely as could have been done with a knife, and the slain lay in rows precisely as they had stood in their ranks a few moments before.  It was never my fortune to witness a more bloody, dismal field." --- at Antietam

Union General Joseph Hooker, just before he was soundly beaten at Chancellorsville


File:Wendell Phillips by Brady.jpg "Will the slave fight? If any man asks you, tell him 'no' But, if anyone asks you, will a Negro fight? Tell him yes!"

Wendell Phillips


“Descended from a long line of illustrious warriors and statesmen, Robert Edward Lee added new glory to the name he bore, and, whether measured by a martial or an intellectual standard, will compare favorably with those whose reputation it devolved upon him to sustain and emulate…”

Commenting on Robert E. Lee in a post-war article for the North American Review

“All we ask is to be let alone.”

“Our present political situation has been achieved in a manner unprecedented in the history of nations.  It illustrates the American idea that governments rest on the consent of the governed, and that it is the right of the people to alter or abolish them at will whenever they become destructive of the ends for which they were established.”  --- inaugural address

"It is our duty to keep the memory of our heroes green.  Yet they belong not to us alone; they belong to the whole country; they belong to America."

"The man and the hour have met." - William Yancey introducing Davis to a crowd in Montgomery, AL on February 16, 1861

Jefferson Davis

Revised 05/10/2013